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Stevenson. The best reading has in every instance been adopted, and the result of the collation will be given in a chapter of various readings, at the end of the next volume. In addition to this, different Manuscripts have been referred to whenever the text appeared corrupt or unintelligible; but, it is right to add, with very little benefit. It is hoped, therefore, that in this volume will be found the best text of the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation that has yet been published.
Of the value of this work we can have no better evidence than the fact of its having been so often translated into the vernacular tongue. King Alfred thought it not beneath his dignity to render it familiar to his Anglo-Saxon subjects, by translating it into their tongue.
The first version in modern English was that of Stapleton, bearing the following title, “ The History of the Church of Englande, compiled by Venerable Bede, Englishman, translated out of Latin into English by Thomas Stapleton, Student in Divinity. Antw. by John Laet, 1565.” The object of the translator was to recal the affections of the people to the Theological forms and doctrines which in his time were being exploded. In the dedication to Queen Elizabeth occurs the following passage :-“In this History Your Highnes shall see in how many and weighty pointes the pretended reformers of the Church in Your Graces dominions have departed from the patern of that sounde and catholike faith planted first among Englishemen by holy S. AUGUSTIN our Apostle, and his virtuous company, described truly and sincerely by Venerable BEDE, so called in all Christendom for his passing vertues and rare learning, the Author of this History. And to thentent Your Highnes intention bent to weightier considerations and affaires may spende no longe time in espying oute the particulars, I have gathered out of the whole History a number of diversities betwene the pretended religion of Protestants, and the primitive faith of the English Church.”
The work was again translated into English by John Stevens, Lond. 8vo. 1723; and a third time (with some omissions) by W. Hurst, Lond. 8vo. 1814, and apparently with the same object which influenced Stevenson. The translation, attached to the text in this volume, is that of Stevens, but corrected without scruple, wherever it was necessary. It was first published separately, Lond. 8vo. 1840, forming the first volume of a series of the Monkish Historians of Great Britain, and has since been again carefully revised throughout, and in some passages altogether retranslated; so that it is hoped the English reader will find it to convey a tolerably accurate notion of the style and sense of the original.
J. A. G.
WINDLESHAM Hall, SURREY,
PROLOGUS.—GLORIOSISSIMO REGI CEOLWULPHO, BEDA,
FAMULUS CHRISTI ET PRESBYTER.
ISTORIAM Gentis Anglorum Ecclesiasticam, quam nuper edideram, & libentissime tibi desideranti, rex, et prius ad legendum ac probandum transmisi, et nunc ad transcribendum ac plenius ex tempore medi
tandum retransmitto; satisque studium tuæ sinceritatis amplector, quo non solum audiendis Scripturæ sanctæ verbis aurem sedulus accommodas, verum etiam noscendis priorum gestis sive dictis, et maxime nostræ gentis virorum illustrium, curam vigilanter impendis. Sive enim historia de bonis bona referat, ad imitandum bonum auditor sollicitus instigatur; seu mala commemoret de pravis, nihilominus religiosus ac pius auditor sive lector, devitando quod noxium est ac perversum, ipse solertius ad exsequenda ea, quæ bona ac Deo digna esse cognoverit, accenditur. Quod ipsum tu quoque vigilantissime deprehendens, historiam memoratam in notitiam tibi simulque cis, quibus te
PREFACE.—TO THE MOST GLORIOUS KING CEOLWULPH,
BEDE, THE SERVANT OF CHRIST AND PRIEST.
FORMERLY, at your request, IOB
most readily transmitted to you the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, which I had newly published, for you to read, and give it your approbation ; and I now send it again to be transcribed,
and more fully considered at your leisure. And I cannot but commend the sincerity and zeal, with which you not only diligently give ear to hear the words of the Holy Scripture, but also industriously take care to become acquainted with the actions and sayings of former men of renown, especially of our own nation. For if history relates good things of good men, the attentive hearer is excited to imitate that which is good; or if it mentions evil things of wicked persons, nevertheless the religious and pious hearer or reader, shunning that which is hurtful and perverse, is the more earnestly excited to perform those things which he knows to be good, and worthy of God. Of which you also being deeply sensible, are desirous that the said history should be more fully made familiar to yourself,